Washington-- Three Republican senators believe they have a way to help undocumented children and young people gain legal status.
On Monday, Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC), James Lankford (R-OK), and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Solution for Undocumented Children through Careers, Employment, Education, and Defending our nation (SUCCEED) Act.
The merit based SUCCEED act would provide a way to gain conditional permanent resident (CPR) status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program(DACA) recipients.
“For years, Congress has tried but failed to provide legal certainty for undocumented children who were brought to the United States through no fault of their own,” said Senator Tillis.
In order to qualify, undocumented children would have to follow one of these three pathways once they become adults: have a job, have a college degree or are in the process of getting one, or serve in the U.S. military.
These are the other eligibility requirements:
- Arrive in the U.S. before the age of 16 and before June 15, 2012, the enactment date of DACA.
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent, if 18 or older.
- Pass a tough background check.
- Submit biometrics to the Department of Homeland Security.
- Register for the military selective service.
- Pay off any existing federal tax liabilities.
- Sign a form waiving relief or immigration benefits regarding the legislation if convicted of crime while on CPR status.
The proposed legislation also allows renewals of CPR status after five years for another five years if one of the three pathways are met and good moral character is upheld, meaning no serious misdemeanors or felonies on record.
Then after 10 years of holding CPR status, individuals could apply for lawful permament status or a “green card.” After that, green card holders would have to wait 5 years to being naturalized.
This means from start to finish, it would take a DACA recipient 15 years to eventually become a U.S. citizen.
The SUCCEED Act is already earning bipartisan praise and is drawing support from the nation’s business community.
Hispanic Leadership Fund President Mario H. Lopez issued a statement Mon. saying,
The Hispanic Leadership Fund applauds Republican Senators Tillis, Lankford, and Hatch for introducing the SUCCEED Act. This bill is a great step toward a reasonable and constructive conservative solution to the Dreamer issue. We urge all Members of Congress to recognize that punishing kids for their parents actions is both misguided and counterproductive to improving the American economy as a whole, especially when those kids have been vetted and are productive members of society.
Linda Moore, TechNet president, wrote,
The clock is running on Dreamers, and March 5 will be here before we know it. We appreciate the sense of urgency Senators Tillis, Lankford, and Hatch are demonstrating on this issue and for putting forward a serious proposal for Congress to consider.
About 800,000 young undocumented immigrants have signed up for DACA, which allows them to work legally in the U.S. and be spared from deportation. Data from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, states about 690,000 people are currently enrolled in DACA.
President Trump announced earlier this month that he plans to phase out the program. In fact, he said that no new DACA applications would be accepted and that renewals would stop being processed after October 5th.
President Trump is now putting pressure on Congress to come up with a solution by March 2018.